McCool and Coleman Secure Not Guilty Verdicts for Protestor Charged in First Trump Inauguration Trial

Following a four-week trial, Oliver Harris, represented by Steven McCool and Julia Coleman, was acquitted of multiple charges of felony rioting and destruction of property. The government had arrested over 200 individuals, charging them with several crimes relating to the property destruction caused by a handful of individuals on the day of Donald Trump’s Inauguration in January 2017. The government presented no evidence that Mr. Harris was involved in any acts of destruction. During his closing argument, McCool argued that “[t]he government wants to criminalize Mr. Harris’s First Amendment right to walk in protest of Mr. Trump. He didn’t break anything. And what does the government say? ‘He didn’t leave.’ Well, he gets to stay.” “‘[Mr. Harris] can think what he wants about Donald Trump — that’s not criminal,’ said McCool. He argued that the people who broke windows and committed more than $100,000 worth of damage weren’t on trial. ‘Those people are responsible for their own misconduct.’”

After returning verdicts of not guilty for Mr. Harris, one of the jurors stated, “There was no evidence to support whether or not these six willingly participated in the riots or aided and abetted the rioters.” McCool commented that the “jury showed a deep appreciation for all our Constitutional rights. It came down to whether or not they were truly engaged in protected speech.” Following these acquittals, and acquittals and mistrials in the following Inauguration trial, the government dismissed all charges against the remaining individuals charged. “Steve McCool, a former prosecutor who was a defense attorney for Oliver Harris in the first trial, calls the 129 dismissals long overdue. ‘Prosecuting individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights was never a good idea,’ he says.”

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